Today was a very busy day after another exhausting drive. I don’t know how people do highway driving every day and then manage to put in a full-days work for 5 days/week. & then going home again! I’ve nearly had three accidents trying to change lanes and not noticing cars there. I think I’ll take a different way home tomorrow!
Anyway, I arrived at 9:30 and worked on writing stories and doing interviews. The reporters also went through stories with me and explained how to make them shorter and sharper and in the NewsCorp Quest style.
I wrote two stories in the morning from Press Releases. The reporters were very kind and generous and gave me feedback straight away. I was given three story ideas to do that required interviews and internet research. That took most of the day and was a mentally draining exercise as I got quite nervous.
I also must still have baby brain because every time I had to think of questions I drew a blank. But I managed to do three interviews on the telephone today. I spoke to a woman who is a Breast Cancer Survivor and has joined a Dragon Boat group to fundraise for Breast Cancer. They will be heading to Italy for a showcase event. Their trailer broke and a local business fixed it for free so I interviewed the local business. I also arranged to chat with the woman who organised the fundraising initiative. She will be calling me tomorrow.
The last interview for the day was with a teenager who was participating in the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament this week. That was a good interview and an example of deviating from the list of questions to pursue a line of enquiry that warranted further investigation. I wrote up the story and sent it back to the reporter who sent me the press release.
One of the challenges of telephone interviews was trying to hear the people I spoke to. I found I would repeat back what they said to make sure I understood correctly. If I wasn’t sure of something they said, I asked them to clarify what they meant.
Another challenge was trying to get everything down given my shorthand is not quite up to speed, yet. Luckily they were very patient with me and I managed to get the general gist. However, for a larger newspaper requiring more lengthy articles and a more substantial interview, this is something I would have needed to work on.
I think face-to-face interviews are a better idea!
The final challenge to telephone interviews for me personally is my lack of confidence and nerves. I think if I can overcome that, I will do better next time.
All up, I worked on six stories today, I think, and have follow-up to do on two tomorrow.
I emailed a story idea to Nick Crockford and Jamie-Leigh Mason and they approved it so I will be pursuing that avenue tomorrow and taking my camera along for the JR202 assessment.
I went through proofs in the afternoon. Today was deadline day and with two editors away, it was very busy for the remaining editors.
Most stories come from press releases but some also come directly from the public who contact the paper to see if they would be interested.
I also had a proper lunch break today (I was too nervous yesterday.)
I chatted with a few journos, one who remembers John Henningham from his young and rebellious days!! But that’s another yarn for another day. Only joking!
Journalism is a very small world! Everyone seems to have worked with all the veterans at some stage. It’s excellent because journalism is a career where having mentors is an invaluable asset and is the best way to learn, get ahead, flourish and inspire others.
I think for a newsroom to be effective, it’s vital that everyone gets along and is generous, warm and friendly. Quest North Lakes are a great group and I’m pleased I received my introduction to Journalism there.
All in all, I think today was a success. (Apart from the drive home at 4:45!) When they designed North Lakes, they didn’t design it with people in mind! Or sleepy-head Mummies like me!